Monday, 16 November 2009

LVT: Russia's Synergy on cusp of semi-finals at Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d'Azur

Emirates Team New Zealand scores two wins to wrap up round robins

Jero Lomas on the bow for Emirates Team New Zealand. Image copyright Paul Todd/

by Chloe Daycard

Synergy skipper Karol Jablonski and tactician Rod Dawson were wearing huge smiles dockside and expressing their pleasure over a job well done when Philippe Mourniac from All4One approached.

“Great job, guys. It was awesome to watch on TV,” said Mourniac, the Franco-German team’s navigator.

Synergy had recently completed a wire-to-wire win over TeamOrigin, restructuring the order at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur as perestroika revamped Russian politics in the 1980s.

Synergy today won two races and now occupies fourth place on the leaderboard with a 5-4 record, 1 point behind third-placed Azzurra. Synergy has two matches remaining in Round 2 and a victory in at least one would ensure advancement to the semi-finals.

“That would be an accomplishment. But we still have to win it,” said Jablonski, the 47-year-old skipper from Poland. “Today we had a good day and we’re happy with our performance in this event. Before the start, who would’ve counted on us going forward?”

Emirates Team New Zealand heads upwind. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

The semi-finalists took shape today with Emirates Team New Zealand wrapping up the round robins. Kiwi skipper Dean Barker came out victorious over BMW Oracle Racing and TFS – PagesJaunes and leads the event with a 9-1 record.

England’s TeamOrigin holds second at 7-3. Italy’s Azzurra didn’t race today but remains in third place at 6-3. Synergy is fourth followed by Artemis at 4-5. BMW Oracle Racing is sixth (3-6), All4One seventh (3-7) and TFS – PagesJaunes eighth (1-9).

Sebastien Col (helmsman) and Jochen Schuemann (skipper) on ALL4ONE. Image copyright Frank Socha.

“The big deal for us is getting into the top four, and I think we’re comfortable,” said Ben Ainslie, TeamOrigin skipper. “It’s about getting better and trying to get results in the semi-final sail-offs. All the teams are battling a bit with the conditions and boats and trying to get used to it all. Like everyone else, we’re trying to get better.”

If a few breaks had fallen differently in Round 1, Synergy might be placed even higher. The team lost a heartbreaker to Emirates Team New Zealand just five lengths from the finish line. It lost another match that it led when the mainsheet broke. Despite the setbacks, the learning curve has remained vertical.

Artemis' bowman, Andy Feathers (AUS) calls time and distance to the line. Image copyright Frank Socha.

“The important thing for our team is the atmosphere,” Jablonski said. “We went through a difficult time at the beginning. If something goes wrong there are a lot of possibilities for the team to explode or not be happy, but we are holding together. We have good attitudes.”

That attitude was evident when Synergy took down TeamOrigin. Jablonski started to the right of Ainslie, won the first cross on the right side of the course, and opened a lead at the first windward mark that wouldn’t be overcome on the short, two-lap course.

“Both sides wanted the right, but we didn’t want it with a bad start,” Ainslie said. “I thought we were in position to make their start tough, but they did a good job squeezing around the committee boat.

“It’s good to see those guys doing so well,” Ainslie continued. “They’ve got some great sailors. It’s good to see that when they get the boat handling side figured out they’ve got some smart sailors who know what a wind shift is and can figure it out.”

BMW ORACLE Racing leads TeamOrigin. Image copyright Paul Todd/

Three flights remain to complete the second round robin over the next two days. And although the semi-finalists are taking shape, the day still belonged to Synergy, even if they have to scream at each other.

“We don’t have a communications system on board, so we have to talk loud to make sure everyone’s on the same page,” Jablonski said. “The communication with the guy up the rig is difficult because he has to scream. But it doesn’t matter. It’s in Russian half the time so no one else can understand!”

Round Robin 2 : Flights 3-5 summaries

Team New Zealand keeps rolling, Synergy making a mark


M1: TeamOrigin d. BMW Oracle Racing

The Union Jack defeated the Stars & Stripes in a come-from-behind performance. BMW Oracle grabbed the lead on the first upwind leg and held a 17-second advantage at the windward mark. BMW Oracle had started to the left of TeamOrigin and then crossed to the right at the first meeting to gain control. BMW Oracle maintained that lead through the leeward gate. Up the second beat, however, the crews split sides with BMW Oracle going left and TeamOrigin going right. The lateral separation surpassed 1,300 meters and when the pair met about two-thirds up the course TeamOrigin held starboard tack and BMW Oracle was forced to tack to leeward. TeamOrigin took BMW Oracle to the port layline and led at the second windward mark by 13 seconds. BMW Oracle made gains on the run to the finish, but ran out of racecourse.

The win increases TeamOrigin’s record to 7-2 while BMW Oracle falls to 3-5.

M2: Synergy d. Artemis – Delta: 41 seconds

Artemis' afterguard. Image copyright Bob Grieser/

The upstart Russian crew is becoming a force to be reckoned with after scoring a solid win over Artemis. Synergy and Artemis had a split start, with Artemis on port at the boat. The Swedish-flagged yacht quickly tacked to starboard and both crews sailed to the left side of the course. Synergy was first to tack to port and at the first cross Artemis was forced to tack on the leebow. On the next exchange Synergy was farther to windward and Artemis was forced to tack to port to leeward. Synergy then drove the match to the starboard layline and led at the windward mark by 11 seconds. Synergy steadily increased that lead around the course for the win.

The Russian crew moves to fourth in the standings at 4-4 and relegates Artemis to fifth at 3-5.


ETNZ gather in the kite. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

M1: Emirates Team New Zealand d. BMW ORACLE Racing – Delta: 9 seconds

Team New Zealand used a familiar formula to win its eighth match in nine starts. Skipper Dean Barker started at the pin, won the first cross and controlled up the beat to hold a 23-second lead at the first mark. The two crews took opposite routes through the leeward gate, with Team New Zealand making a port rounding and BMW Oracle going starboard. A left shift up the second beat allowed BMW Oracle to dig back into Team New Zealand, but the Kiwis took starboard tack across by two lengths at the first meeting on the second uphill leg, and the covered for a 14-second advantage beginning the run to the finish. The Kiwis had to sweat out the win as BMW Oracle closed up to overlapped at the finish from three lengths behind.

While Team New Zealand keeps its place at the top of the leaderboard at 8-1, BMW Oracle remained in sixth with a 3-6 record.

M2: Artemis d. ALL4ONE – DNF

Artemis dodged a big bullet in its hopes of advancing to the semi-finals when it completed a penalty turn on the finish line in light winds for the victory. All4One had gotten the penalty on the Swedish-flagged team on the first windward leg, getting its bow to leeward on port tack and luffing. Artemis, however, led at all three mark roundings and began the run to the finish with a 1:04 advantage. It was going to be tenuous whether Artemis could complete the turn and cross the line in the lead as the wind was blowing about 4 knots. But All4One blew a jibe to starboard when the A2 twisted into an hour-glass. The crew had to lower the sail to remove the twist and Artemis turned its 150-metre lead into 600-plus metres. All4One was scored DNF when it failed to finish within 5 minutes of Artemis.

Artemis is now fifth at 4-5, one loss behind Synergy in fourth. All4One drops to 3-7 in seventh place.

Kite takedown for TeamOrigin. Image copyright Ian Roman/TeamOrigin.


M1: Synergy d. TeamOrigin – Delta: 1:34

Synergy Russia Sailing Team is becoming the spoiler of this regatta. The team is now 2-0 in Round 2 and up to fourth on the leaderboard after dispatching of TeamOrigin in perhaps its most impressive race yet. Synergy won the right side of the racecourse off the start line, won the first cross, led by 28 seconds at the first mark and was never threatened. Synergy is also doing it all as a first-time crew. The loss dropped TeamOrigin to 7-3 on the scoreboard but it remains in second place, one win ahead of Azzurra (6-3).

M2: Emirates Team New Zealand d. TFS – PagesJaunes – Delta: 1:55

Emirates Team New Zealand leads TFS - Pages Jaunes. Image copyright Chris Cameron/Emirates Team New Zealand.

Team New Zealand upped its record to 9-1 with a wire-to-wire win over TFS – PagesJaunes. Team New Zealand controlled the match on the first upwind leg from the left side and led by 27 seconds at the first windward mark. Team New Zealand stretched that advantage to 1:07 at the leeward gate, which it held to the second windward mark. The delta became inflated on the run when the A2 gennaker on TFS – PagesJaunes tore in half.

Louis Vuitton Trophy

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